PARIS, March 12. /TASS/. The French Senate (upper house of parliament) on Saturday approved the government's proposed pension reform amid protests against it across the country since late January. The results of the vote were announced on the Twitter page of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
"After hundreds of hours of debates, the Senate has passed the text of pension reform. This is a decisive step towards a reform that will secure the future of our pensions. We are fully prepared for a final decision to be made in the coming days," the prime minister said.
According to the official, 195 senators voted in favor of the reform, while 112 lawmakers were against it.
After the Senate approves the text, a joint committee of seven deputies of the National Assembly (lower house) and seven senators will have to agree on the final version of the reform bill. The committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 15. If parliamentarians then agree on a final text, it will be put to a vote on March 16, first in the Senate and then in the National Assembly. If both chambers vote in favor of the document, it will be finally approved.
According to Agence France-Presse, the final vote against the reform could come from members of the National Assembly, who in February did not have time to review the full text of the reform within the 20-day period allotted by the country’s constitution due to the large number of amendments made by the coalition of leftist forces New Ecological and Social People's Union (NUPES). If the reform is ultimately not approved by parliament, the constitution allows the government to promulgate it by decree without a vote.
On Thursday night, the French Senate, which is currently reviewing the provisions of a pension reform bill, approved an amendment to raise the retirement age to 64 by 2030. Senators also backed the possibility of early retirement at 63 for those who started working at age 20 and have at least 43 years of service.
Saturday marked the seventh day of general protests against the pension reform in French cities since the end of January. According to the French Interior Ministry, 368,000 people took part in demonstrations. On Tuesday, a record number of people protested against the reform across the country: nearly 1.3 million.
Born unveiled a draft reform in mid-January. In addition to raising the retirement age, it includes an increase in the minimum pension to 1,200 euros and the abolition of a number of special pension schemes.